Thursday, March 29, 2012

Prevent Valley Stream Target From Closing: A Day of Action



Over 70 workers, community members and former Target employees traveled to 22 New York Target stores yesterday, March 28, 2012, seeking support from Target employees and customers to keep the Valley Stream, New York Target from closing. Target's Valley Stream store is scheduled to close on April 28 for six months, a time when a possible re-run election for unionization could be ordered by the Federal government. The United Food and Commercial workers have spoken out against the store closure alleging the closing is in retaliation for the workers exercising their civil rights to join a Union. The Union noted that no other Target store in New York had ever closed for renovations, and only one of over 850 stores nationally has closed for a remodel.

"What we're seeing now is the Walmartization of Target stores," said assistant to the President of UFCW Local 1500 Pat Purcell, "That's why we're trying to inform the public that this company, behind it's glitzy ads and high profile fashion celebs, is no better than Walmart. Closing a store in retaliation for workers asking to better their work place is shameful and illegal."

Workers at the Valley Stream Target organized last June to demand more respect and better pay from their employer, only to lose in a contested Federal election. During the election, Target's vicious campaign to scare workers away from joining UFCW Local 1500 become the subject of much media attention. During the election, anti-union videos Target had shows to new employees were shown again to Valley Stream employees and Target distributed literature that suggested the store would close if "the union got in". After the failed union election the National Labor Relations Board charged Target with numerous violations of Federal labor law.

In a last minute effort to fend off attempts by the Valley Stream Target workers seeking to hold another Union election, Target announced in early March the closing of its Valley Stream store for six months, offering limited transfers and job placements in a manner that the Union and workers consider discriminatory.

Joe Hansen, International President of the 1.4 million-member UFCW Union, released the following statement on Target's actions:

"Target has sunk to a new low. The company announced plans to close the Valley Stream store for six months - a move that seems designed to put an end to the workers' campaign to join together to improve their jobs.

Target is targeting these workers, singling them out, and trying to prevent the possibility of a second, fairer election. It's a shameful strategy, and one that takes aim at a core American value: the right to stick together on the job. We can't stand for such a bald-faced attack on the basic rights of working people.

UFCW Local 1500 has rightfully spoken out against the closure of the Valley Stream store and I hope federal regulators will heed their call to intervene. If they don't, it will be not only a grave injustice, but it will further embolden companies like Target and Walmart, who seek to squash worker rights in the pursuit of unfettered control of our economy.

Workers have the right to stick together and form a union. It's wrong for Target or any other retailer to punish workers for exercising their rights. Retail workers across the country will be influenced by this decision, as they act together to improve their own jobs."

Do your part, sign on to keep Valley Stream Target open at www.TargetChange.com.
For pictures and video from the event head to www.facebook.com/targetchange.


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The UFCW Blog: Target's Shameful Targeting of Workers Who Want a ...

Check out UFCW International President Joe Hansen on Target's Targeting of Pro Union Workers at their Valley Stream store.
 
The UFCW Blog: Target's Shameful Targeting of Workers Who Want a ...: Guest post by Joe Hansen, UFCW International President Workers at the Target in Valley Stream, N.Y., did a very brave thing last year ...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Like Walmart, Target to Close Store Vying to Unionize

In a move mirroring what Walmart did in Texas when butchers organized and then again in 2004 in Canada, when Walmart decided to close a store in Jonquiere, Quebec, after workers unionized (the Supreme Court of Canada backed the company’s move, which Walmart blamed on financial factors).  Target in another scare tactic maneuver, plans on closing the Valley Stream store for 6-months during "renovations". It just may be a little ironic or coincidental that they also plan on removing any employee that is "not in good standing" with the company.  It's modern day disgusting, union-busting.   This is the only way for Target to break up this campaign to bring change to Target.

Don Schroeder, an attorney with Mintz Levin who represents employers on labor issues, said the National Labor Relations Board would likely seek so-called 10(j) relief to prevent the store’s closure. Target would have to present evidence in court that the closure is “part and parcel of what they do as a business,” he said. 
He added that the publicity surrounding the case and the board’s increasing desire to seek injunctions since Barack Obama became president make it a candidate for such a move.
“Based on how contentious everything has been, I’d be shocked if the board didn’t pursue 10(j) relief,” he said. “I think it’s very likely to head to federal court.”
Support the workers at Valley Stream Target by heading to www.facebook.com/targetchange.

Read more at Crain's: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120320/RETAIL_APPAREL/120329982#ixzz1pmm4JPER

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Mornin' One-Liners: 99% Spring & Whole Foods in BK x2

The UFCW has joined the 99% spring, a movement to train activists throughout the spring of 2012.
April 9-15 we will gather across America, 100,000 strong, in homes, places of worship, campuses and the streets to train ourselves in non-violent action and join together in the work of reclaiming our country. History is calling; it’s time to step up.
American Labor Leaders are planning a door-to-door approach to help Obama's presidential campaign.

Christine Quinn has said she cannot support a paid sick days bill
The bill “will cost us jobs and cost us small businesses and their future in these tough economic times,” Quinn added, again using the same words spoken in January.
Great read from The Open Salon: The War Against Economic Recovery, highlights our Target Change campaign, and how our road to economic recovery starts with businesses creating good jobs.

Ad Age looks at retail in a piece focused on Target, Walmart & Kohls in: 'Size Matters in Retail'

Whole Foods is coming to Brooklyn, again.  They'll be moving into the heart of Willyburg at 242 Bedford, a 2nd Brooklyn Site.

Last week we came out against the NY GOP Senate's move to repeal the Wage Theft Prevention Act, a bill designed to protect workers and ensure they're getting paid the correct wages, the Huffington Post picked up the story.

A&P announced they're emerged from bankruptcy last week, they also named a new CFO.

UFCW Local 8 began picketing at Fresh and Easy stores last week.  In These Times (a great working blog) writes more about the clash between Fresh & Easy and San Fran natives.

Walmart in South Africa: 503 jobs reinstated as conditions of merger.  

Must Read: Not a mobster or a monster, just a union activist.
This is not just my job. It’s my lifestyle: I am a union activist. Yup, I'm one of those “maniacs” marching out on the streets with a sign that reads “STRIKE.”  But while some critics have slammed union activists as “mobsters,” I sure don’t look like what they might expect: I wear floral dresses, pink lipstick and talk to workers about their rights over coffee and jelly donuts.
Update on RWDSU's campaign Wash NY: East Harlem car wash workers confront owner over pay and working conditions.

Couldn't make the General Membership meeting last week? Check out the recap in our Blog.




Thursday, March 15, 2012

03.14.12 General Membership Recap

President Both speaking at the General Membership Meeting
Summary of last night's General Membership Meeting:

(Note: All exclusive Member-privileged information has been omitted) After the minutes of Executive Board meetings were read, Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman spoke about mobilization, Pathmark and Local 1500 members banding together now, in preparation for 2013 contract negotiations.  He encouraged Local 1500 members to join the S.T.A.R.T. program to get involved with their union.  (To sign up for the START program, head here: http://ufcw1500.org/content/page/title/Sign_Up_Form).

President Both gave a presentation on the State of the Union, giving an in-depth analysis on the current campaigns of Local 1500:
  • Current Contracts in Negotiations
    • Shelf Life
    • D'Agostino
  •  Pathmark, A&P Bankruptcy
    • Phase II: Buyouts, President Both explained Buyouts, Bumps and the next steps in Pathmark emerging from Bankruptcy
  •  Mobilization and Preparation for 2013 Contract Negotiations, Organizing Drives
    • President Both explained Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman will be re-igniting the START program in order to mobilize for upcoming contract negotiations in 2013 as well as organizing campaigns against Target.
  • Fairway Stores
  • 348-S
  • Political Campaigns
    • Walmart, preservation in NYC
    • November Elections
    • Plastic Bags
    • Wine in Supermarkets
    • Wage Theft Bill: (Checkout our statement on Wage Theft)
    • Minimum Wage (statement on Minimum Wage)
  •  Organizing
    • Explanations on organizing drives within two companies (not for publication) and the Target NLRB hearing, organizing progress 
Special Projects Director Aly Waddy then gave a full report on the National Labor Board's federal trial against Target, for violations of the National Labor Relations Act during the organizing drive in Valley Stream last June. She encouraged members to get involved with helping Target workers attain basic working rights.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A&P Emerges From Bankruptcy

Attention all Local 1500 Members working for Pathmark, yesterday A&P/Pathmark announced they have exited Bankruptcy.

Here is their Full Company Press Release: http://www.aptea.com/pressRoom_article.asp?id=248

Article from the Associated Press:

MONTVALE, N.J. (AP) — The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company Inc., which was once the nation's largest grocer, said Tuesday that it has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a private company.

The company filed for bankruptcy protection in late 2010 after struggling with weak sales and enormous debts.

The grocer, known for its A&P chain, has secured financing for operations, refurbished some stores and negotiated new agreements with suppliers and its employee unions.

It also has a new management team in place. The company announced Tuesday that it has named Raymond Silcock as its chief financial officer. He joined the company in 2011 as head of finance. Silcock replaces Frederic Brace, who is resigning from his role as chief restructuring, financial and administrative officer now that the bankruptcy process is complete.

"In just over one year, we have completed a thorough restructuring of A&P's cost structure and balance sheet to build a strong foundation for the company's future," Sam Martin, A&P's president and CEO said in a statement. "With the full support of our financial partners, the new A&P is committed to delivering exceptional value and an enhanced in-store experience to all of our customers."

The company operates more than 300 grocery and drug stores in six states under the A&P, Best Cellars, Food Basics, The Food Emporium, Pathmark, Superfresh and Waldbaum's names

A&P, based in Montvale, was founded in 1859 and is considered one of the country's first supermarket chains.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

NYS Senate Wants to Make it OK for Businesses to Steal Wages

It's a crime that this isn't receiving much attention in NY Political arenas, blogs and papers.  Thankfully the Huffington Post did a write up on NY State Senate Republicans motions to remove and repeal New York's Wage Theft Prevention Act, an act designed and used to protect workers, guaranteeing they're paid the correct wages, protecting workers from dishonest employers.

We put out a release on Tuesday slamming the Senate's budget resolution for including the full repeal of the WTPA.  When Republicans cite that the act of ensuring their employees are receiving the correct pay is "a costly mandate", it's just bad politics, again.

WESTBURY, NEW YORK (03/13/2012))-- New York State's largest grocery workers Union criticized yesterday's State Senate budget resolution for including the full repeal of the Wage Theft Prevention Act. The Wage Theft Prevention Act was passed in 2010 and increased penalties for employers who fail to pay their employees their proper wages. The Senate voted last week to begin repealing portions of the bill,

"The Republican Party in New York has proven that they believe the only way for New York to be open for business is if employers feel comfortable that they can get away with stealing from their workers" said Patrick Purcell, spokesperson for United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the lead Union in the campaign to pass the WTPA in 2010.

"Part V, under the New Jobs New York section of the Senate budget proposal, seeks to repeal the Wage Theft Prevention Act of 2010 because it is, according the Republicans, a costly mandate on NY employers. The absurdity of this proposal is that the WTPA is only costly to the employers who steal. So for the first time in recent history, the Republican Senate has decided to act on behalf of actual thieves. Dead beat employers all over New York State should sleep soundly knowing Republican Senators such as Jack Martin, Marty Golden, Kemp Hannon and Lee Zeldin are looking out for their interest," Purcell stated.

Last week the State Senate voted to repeal the annual notice portion of the Wage Theft Prevention Act, a one page document an employee must sign to acknowledge the wage that has been promised them by their employer.

"Clearly the Republican Senators have discovered the hidden reason some New York businesses are struggling in today's economy. It is the tremendous burden of this one sheet of paper their employees must fill out once a year," Purcell claimed. "Perhaps if employers were not required to get this one-sheet of paper filled out, the economy could move forward and good business owners like Mario Batali and Moutaz Ali can get back to turning profits while robbing their workers of their earned wages," Purcell concluded.

Last Thursday, Batali was ordered to pay $5.25 million to 1,100 workers in seven of his restaurants who claim to have been cheated out of tips. Also last week, Moutaz Ali, owner of Veranda Restaurant in Greenwich Village agreed to pay $150,000 in restitution for employees who were paid below the minimum wage and did not receive overtime pay as required by law. In addition, the eatery was ordered to pay out $50,000 in restitution for damages, lost wages, and penalties for wrongfully terminating the two complaining workers.

UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers in New York State. Members are employed by Stop Shop, Shop Rite, Pathmark, King Kullen and Fairway. Their members live and work in Long Island, the five boroughs, Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess Counties.



Friday, March 9, 2012

Friday Afternoon News Bites

Excellent reporting by Sarah Jeffe from AlterNet on the politics of food in NYC and how the Bronx was sold out short in FreshDirect deal.
New York City, like most of the country, is hurting for jobs—good jobs that pay a living wage and provide benefits so that people can support their families. Yet billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with Governor Andrew Cuomo and Bronx borough president Ruben Diaz Jr., is about to hand over $129 million in public money, through tax exemptions and direct subsidies, to FreshDirect, a grocery delivery service that is notorious for underpaying its workers, has faced multiple accusations of discrimination and has been accused of using all sorts of shady tactics to block its workers from joining a union.
A former Target manager tells Gawker how they're trained to stay union-free, a great spot by Hamilton Nolan.

Check out more @the Daily Kos.


Target has denied flu shots for two sisters who are disabled in their Hicksville store.

Stop & Shop will be opening a new store in Hyde Park.

A newly approved King Kullen in Tuckahoe (Southampton) won't deter the community from lobbying for another new grocer in the village.


Fresh Market has said they plan on opening 14-16 stores during the fiscal 2012.

NY's Food Desert Fund Distributes $6 million since 2010:
The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund, a three-year, public/private program launched in late 2010, has thus far provided $6.14 million — $4.86 million in loans and $1.28 million in grants — to seven supermarket projects aimed at improving access to nutritious food for 24,000 people in underserved communities throughout New York state, according to the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) here.
Community members and small business owners rallied in Chinatown LA against a proposed Walmart.

The NY Daily News has backed the RWDSU & Make the Road's new campaign "Wash NY" a movement to bring justice to car-wash workers throughout NYC.   They released a report chronicling the illness' within the industry this week.  Check out Lila Shapiro's column in the Huffington Post and the campaign website at www.washnewyork.org.

Business Insider: "Target has completely destroyed its competition."




Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Target Targets Union Employees

Logo of website gawker.com, for use in article...
Image via Wikipedia
Last week Gawker added another edition to its ongoing expose of life working at Target.  This edition, Gawker get's some inside info from a former Target Team Leader.  Some juicy stuff on the script the company uses to train managers to stay union-free and how to avoid hiring employees who were previously unionized or have union buzz words within their resume.

We all recall Target firing pro-union employee Tashawna Greene last August, a mere 7-weeks after the union election for essentially nothing, but this is a whole other level of anti-unionism by Target. 

On screening job applications:
We also had training on how to read job applications. They gave us words to look out for which may indicate the employee was in a union at a previous jobs. Those applicants were not to be hired. The official training paperwork didn't say this, but verbally they did...As far as job applications go, I do specifically remember they said if we see words like shop steward, steward, local, brotherhood

When unionizing came up amongst staff:
I do remember when the topics of unions came up one thing we were supposed to remind the hourly employees was that if they joined a union "Things could get better, but they could stay the same, and they definetly could get worse" and emphasize that "Just because you join a union, nothing is guarenteed and it might become a lot worse". We were supposed to talk about how if they join a union that essentially they would have no control over anything anymore and that their union leaders would essentially have a bunch of closed door negotiations and none of them would have a voice anymore and they would be forced to do whatever the union leaders wanted.
Check out the entire piece at Gawker: http://gawker.com/5889767/a-former-target-team-leader-explains-hiring-firing-and-staying-union+free

This is nothing new to us within this industry, but Gawker has been doing a stellar job reporting the truths about what it's like to work for the mega-retailer, Target, truths which are usually swept underneath the carpet and receive little media attention.



Saturday, March 3, 2012

Pathmark Member Advisory from President Bruce Both

Pathmark Member Advisory
March 3,2012

Local 1500, along with other unions that represent A&P workers, have been advised that A&P will be offering a Voluntary Separating Program (VSP) to select Full Time employees. Details of the plan will be presented by the company.

A&P has determined that it must reduce it's labor costs if it is to become profitable in the future.  The company has stated that starting March 5th, information about the VSP will be communicated to eligible Full Time employees throughout the week.

During the following week, meetings with eligible Full Time employees will be held by company Human Resource Managers at various locations.  During subsequent weeks eligible employees must make their decision if they are going to accept the company sponsored buy out.

It is our understanding that the last day of employment, for those who accept the buyout will be April 21st.  As final details of the plan become available we will keep you updated.


xx



 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Weeks End News Briefs: Walmart in LA, A&P Bankruptcy & Whole Foods in Brooklyn

Here's a round up of the top News from this week: 

The A&P Bankruptcy judge has OK'd the company's Chapter 11 exit plan.  A&P also announced, Sam Martin will remain as CEO.

President Bruce Both of UFCW Local 1500 has released a statement on Sam Martin's salary and bonus during bankruptcy.

UFCW President Joe Hansen was on the Bill Press show discussing: Walmart, Presidential Primaries & the political attack on workers around the country. Check it out on the UFCW Blog!

A 52,000 square foot Pennsylvania Pathmark, set to close within two months, has four potential supermarket retailers vying for the site. Hopefully they're union employers.

The Southampton Press has an update on a new King Kullen in Southampton.

Trader Joe's has finally signed the Fair Food Agreement with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, agreeing to pay a penny more a pound for tomato pickers in Florida, which is speculated to be nearly a 50% increase in pay for farmers.

With Whole Foods on pace to open 27 new stores this year, on Tuesday they won approval to build their first store in Brooklyn at the Gowanus Canal.

Walmart is trying to open a neighborhood market in LA, a 33,000 square foot store would be the first 'neighborhood market' in LA, and is proposed to be opened below a multi-floor senior citizen apartment complex. The project is being met with opposition from small businesses throughout downtown LA. Check out more @HuffingtonPost.

Ahold (parent company of Stop & Shop) has bought the online retailer Bol.com for $470 million, in order to increase internet sales.

Ahold also had a huge fourth-quarter, announcing their fourth-quarter profit jumped 75% 

Britain's largest unions are threatening a strike during the Olympics.

American Rights at Work released a great report which reveals when employees come together, benefits go beyond the workplace.

In support of UFCW Local 5's negotiations, Local 5 members are dropping by stores asking consumers for support by signing pledge cards.

And finally if you hadn't heard, an over 15-year UFCW Local 1776 member and Diary Manager won a Grammy! Congratulations!



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Statement On A&P CEO Sam Martin's Lucrative Bonus & Salary During Bankruptcy

In response to the report from Supermarket News of A&P retaining CEO Sam Martin for a $1.2 million dollar annual salary and $720,000 signing bonus, President Bruce Both released the following statement:


The Following is a Statement from UFCW Local 1500 President Bruce W. Both Regarding the Details of A&P/Pathmark President Sam Martins Salary and Financial Incentive Package

“At a time when we should all be feeling positive about A&P/Pathmark emerging from Chapter 11, we are reminded how unfair the bankruptcy process has been to the A&P/Pathmark employees and union members operating the stores.

While the workers who are the foundation of this company and its only hope for a successful turnaround have been asked to endure painful economic cuts, A&P CEO Sam Martin is being given an unnecessary and excessive signing bonus in addition to his $1.2 million dollar annual salary.

These actions are the type that cut at the morale of the workforce and question whether A&P has any understanding of the sacrifice its employees have made to turn around this once proud supermarket chain and return it to profitability.”

Related:  Supermarket News: A&P to Retain Sam Martin as CEO http://supermarketnews.com/latest-news/martin-stay-ap-ceo

Sam Martin to Remain as A&P CEO

Update for Pathmark Members, A&P has announced Sam Martin will remain as CEO, inking a $1.2 million annual deal, which included a $720,000 signing bonus.

From Supermarket News: http://supermarketnews.com/latest-news/martin-stay-ap-ceo
Martin to Stay as A&P CEO
Thu, 2012-03-01 06:52
By: Jon Springer

MONTVALE, N.J. — Sam Martin has accepted an offer of $1.2 million annually to remain as the chief executive officer of A&P upon its emergence from Chapter 11, court papers showed.

Martin — along with most of his current senior executive team — is set to remain in place as A&P exits Chapter 11 bankruptcy and continues as a private company with new owners. Martin will receive an annual salary of $1.2 million and agreed to a sign-on bonus of $720,000 to be paid by the company’s new owners. Martin will also participate in a long-term incentive plan that could earn him a share of up to 7.5% of the equity in the new company, as well as a short-term bonus plan.

The employment status of Jake Brace, the company’s current chief financial officer and its chief restructuring officer, remains subject to ongoing negotiations, A&P said.

Current senior executives Thomas O’Boyle (chief merchandising officer); Paul Hertz (chief operating officer); Christopher McGarry (chief legal officer) and Carter Knox (chief human resources officer) have also been retained and are likewise eligible for the long-term and short-term incentives as Martin.

Martin will also serve as one of seven members of the board of directors for the new company.

In a separate filing, the United Food and Commercial Workers union indicated it had designated Lou Giraurdo to serve on the board of directors of the new company. The UFCW was granted one board appointee who would not serve on behalf of, or take orders from, the union.

Giraurdo is a partner in a San Francisco law firm of Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass and represents food and financial services firms in acquisitions and refinancings. He is also a co-founder and partner in GESD Capital Partners, a private equity firm with investments in several food and wine companies; a former CEO of Pacific Coast Baking Co.; and a former chairman of Pabst Brewing.

New owners Yucaipa Co., Mount Kellet Capital Management and Goldman Sachs were to appoint five board members. Yucaipa’s Ron Burkle will serve as chairman.

As reported previously, the judge this week approved A&P’s reorganization plan, and the company is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 shortly.




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